The Joys of Therapy and the Narcissist



It is an acknowledged fact that you never see us coming. We are creatures that are insidious and pervasive. It is astonishing that we are not seen because we hardly arrive quietly. We appear with great fanfare, fireworks, flashing lights and symphonic sounds. You cannot miss us but of course all of that obscures what we really are. Even when our true intentions begin to manifest you still do not recognise what we are. There are those of you who meet us once and then fall prey a second or even a third time, such is the manner in which we inveigle our way into your lives. You never ever know who we are when we first enter your life and often you do not realise until years afterwards what has happened to you. Some never even achieve enlightenment. Everything we do is designed to deceive. We are shrouded in deceit, it oozes from us and taints everything around us but you rarely see all of that. We are masters of deception, masked and cloaked, our true intentions hidden behind a sheen of flattery and a wall of manipulation. We know you blame yourselves when you finally realise who you have danced with. We are aware that you see it all too clearly after the event and you blame yourself repeatedly. You really ought not to be so harsh on yourselves, you never stood a chance. It is not just you who cannot penetrate our veil of secrecy, the so-called professionals often fail as well. If they cannot see us then you can be forgiven for doing so can’t you?

There is an army of therapists, doctors, counsellors, life-coaches and so on. Call them what you will and for all their academic brilliance, their soothing words and supposed insight there are many (although not all admittedly) who are unable to detect us either. They have not experienced what you have and therefore they can only speak from a position of learned, rather than experienced, knowledge. Many of our kind never have any interaction with these people since we refuse to acknowledge there is anything wrong with us much less see any need to be subjected to this scrutiny. This diminishes the prospects of these professionals from gaining a proper understanding. Moreover on the occasions when they might just happen to have one of our kind inside their consulting rooms we do everything in our expansive charismatic power to persuade them that not only is there nothing wrong with us but we are the victims of vile behaviour from the very person who forced us to attend on this shrink. Accordingly, their opportunities to understand us and learn from us are limited and this in turn allows us to continue unhindered in our machinations.

Prior to the good doctors who at least appear to know what they are doing, I merrily attended sessions with therapists and their ilk on five occasions. How could I pass up such a succulent opportunity to gather more fuel from this new arrival and also from you. I would resist any attempt to move into this arena of psychoanalysis at first, purely in order to heighten your woe, hurt and frustration. Eventually and often when perceiving a risk that you would voluntarily threaten my supply of fuel I would agree to attend. I prepared in advance as I selected all of the instruments of charm and flattery from my Devil’s Toolkit. Oh how I enjoyed those sessions. My other half would always pay for them so there was a blast of fuel from the off and I relished the opportunity to demonstrate my amenable and charming nature to them. In these sessions with therapists and the like I always adopted a twin strategy. Charm on the one hand and plausible deniability on the other.

I would present at the appropriate place, early, relaxed and looking forward to the chance to tell someone all about me for an hour and paid for by you. I would be pleasant, engaging and treat the time as a fireside chat as I spoke well of my other half, my friends, my job and my achievements. I talked about some of my interests, film in particular and would always ask the other person about their favourite films. They never refused me an answer. The first session was always a breeze as I fillybusted until the time had elapsed. I would continue to do this in each session and often they would allow me to talk and talk. They might try and steer the conversation onto something relevant to my behaviour and I would steer it back on to something else. The first counsellor I saw admitted after five sessions that there was nothing to discuss much to my delight and the girlfriend at the time’s dismay.

It became a challenge whenever the issue of help, therapy or treatment arose. I would go along and draw the positive fuel from the therapist and then draw negative fuel from whoever had insisted on me attending.

“Yes it is going well, we just have a chat really. It is all very amicable.”

“She clearly likes me as she always laughs at my jokes.”

“Did you know he supports the same football team as me? He even sits in the same stand.”

“I am not allowed to tell you about it.”

The last one is a favourite as the pseudo-confidentiality that I apply to the scenario frustrates and irritates you because after all, you need to know because you want to help and by not telling you anything on the basis of instruction from the therapist your bewilderment and frustration increases.

Where my opponent has pressed the issue and asked me and kept on asking me about the alleged behaviours that you have detailed to them beforehand I am always able to drive such doubt into the conversation that it dilutes any attempt to identify what I truly am. It is laughable. When I first ensnare you I do not show you my true colours so do you think that I would behave any different with someone who is trying to trap me and pin me down? Of course not. The catalogue of behaviour outside of normative engagements is fed back to me and I am able to deal with it all. I am an astute enough person to realise that a bare-faced denial will seem evasive and may alert my examiner. Instead, I explain away the perceived problem.

“Yes I admit I do sometimes lose my temper but who doesn’t? I work long hours and I do get a little irritable at times, I know I shouldn’t but I am only human aren’t I?”

“She is rather sensitive so she does tend to exaggerate. She had a bad time of it with her last boyfriend you see. I try and be supportive but it can be difficult because she sees so much in the same way as when she was with him. I don’t blame her it just becomes hard to deal with at times, I am sure you know what I mean, for example there was this one time…..”

“We have a passionate relationship so there are break-ups and make-ups. There is a lot of passionate energy between us and sometimes it does get a little out of hand, on both sides, but that’s the way we are. I recognise my part in this, that after all is why I am here and I would really appreciate it if you could help me to help her. What do you suggest?”

Events are watered down, instances diluted and happenings blurred. Plausible deniability is rolled out and allied with charm results in me walking away with another admirer to my collection and you bemused as to how I have seemingly got away with it again. You really ought not to (although I am pleased you do) get so upset by it since they really do have little chance to uncover what we truly are. What of Dr E and Dr O I hear you ask? Yes well it took two of them in a pincer movement and only because I had to yield to them but that war is still ongoing and there is much fuel to obtain yet.

6 thoughts on “The Joys of Therapy and the Narcissist

  1. Dr. Wendy Rhoades (Dr. HQ) says:

    The patterns I’ve seen walk into my office:

    1. The romantic partner (victim) comes in saying they are anxious and have “anger issues” and soon you find out they have been going through a lot of narcissistic abuse

    2. The narcissist in the relationship comes in because the wife or girlfriend has kicked them out and they are trying to save their relationship.

    3. The narcissist comes in trying to save the relationship claiming the partner is crazy and they are the victim. Often you hear them call the partner “bipolar”.

  2. Bubbles 🍾 says:

    Dear Mr Tudor,
    My my, I find it ironic and most interesting that we usually end up going to a therapist, if you analysed it, there’s usually a narcissist involved !
    You manipulate it as coming out sweet and we end up looking crazy
    Touché to you, well played
    Excellent article
    Luv Bubbles xx 😘

  3. casleighmay says:

    I often wonder what my first psychotherapist (at the age of 13) thought of my narcissistic mother. She only met her once with the idea of us having family therapy. My mother put on an enormous charm offensive, bizarrely avoiding the questions asked and talking in great detail about my birth. The irony of this is that I was taken away because I was unwell and she spent weeks recovering at home and didn’t even see me at all for the first 6 weeks of my life. What she said to the therapist was entirely fabrication.

    I think I wasn’t told much due to my age but my therapist told me very clearly afterwards that family therapy was pointless because it wouldn’t work. She then arranged for me to have regular ‘respite’ periods in a children’s home twice a year. I only had one because the guilt piled onto me was so high from my family that I would ‘choose strangers’ over them that I refused to go from then on. I have often wondered what red flags that therapist saw.

    1. Lorelei says:

      My father was heavily on the radar of my school staff. I was asked repeatedly if he was inappropriate and I knew to say no because of fear he’d get in trouble and we would lose out home, etc. Talk about dysfunction. And I’m the crazy person.. I can’t recall hitting on juveniles ever. Sick. It was an epiphany to realize.

  4. Caity says:

    Only took one of my ex-narcs to a therapist I had been seeing because of the awfulness of living with my now, ex. And if course long before I ever knew what he was. He did exactly what HG said in this article: was charming, affable, earnest in his supposed desire to make things better. I was frustrated and angry. However, either my ex was not as clever as he thought or my therapist must have seen/felt something as she called me a couple of days later and said, “I understand that you believe you love him, but I think it would be better, perhaps, if you stepped back a little and gave yourself room to think” I’ll never forget the words. Not exactly a ringing endorsement of him, nor an outright warning. I told my ex, of course, and he demanded I no longer see her, with all attendant supposedly logical reasons and I obeyed. I left him about a month later when he beat me up because I was rooting for the wrong football team.

  5. lickemtomorrow says:

    I didn’t see him coming.

    He said something once to which I replied that he saw me coming even if I didn’t see him. In my mind I compared it to the biblical story of Ruth.

    I have to laugh sometimes at my own stupidity! Appreciate you telling us not to be so hard on ourselves, HG.

    And we did dance. Like Deborah Kerr and Yul Brenner in the King and I.

    He left me breathless.

    And then he left me.

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